As a Delawarean attending college in D.C. for the last 3.5 years, voting has not always been easy. Unfortunately, the same can be said for the thousands of Delawareans in colleges across the state and country. That’s because Delaware is one of only 11 states that doesn’t allow early voting and requires an “excuse” to vote absentee.
Under Article V of the Delaware Constitution, students “unable to appear … at … [their] polling place…” must undergo a multi-step process in order to participate in elections. Voting absentee requires the use of an online portal to verify the reason for one’s absence, waiting to receive a ballot by mail and mailing the completed ballot to the Department of Elections.
For all voters, and especially first-time voters, figuring out the absentee process through the less-than-streamlined DoE portal can be confusing and discouraging. Not realizing Delaware requires submitting an affidavit before receiving the actual ballot could result in would-be voters requesting their ballots too late to have their votes received and counted on election day.
House Bill 73 gives state legislators the authority to remove the requirement that Delaware’s voters must provide an “excuse” to vote absentee. Every state senator and representative who wants to streamline a cumbersome process and encourage broader electoral participation will vote for HB 73. Voting shouldn’t be a burden.